For Parents

Initial Parent Session

Preferably, the first counseling session is a parent session. Parents/guardians provide a perspective that is instrumental in counseling. An adult viewpoint on the issues in play helps to define problems that will be addressed during counseling sessions. It is important to first gain understanding from parental authority and it is equally important for parents to interview the counselor. Successful counseling requires trust. Operative trust, concerning minors, is often tied to a parent's confidence in the counselor. For this reason it is advantageous to meet with both primary caregivers/parents even if divorced. Although it works best if both parents attend together in this first counseling session, we can schedule the appointments separately, if desired.

Prior to this first counseling session, parents/guardians will complete paperwork that explains a number of counseling aspects, including:
  • The confidential nature of counseling
  • What a "therapeutic relationship" is
  • Information about Resolutions Inc.
  • Insurance, rate and payments
Understanding and endorsement of these counseling parameters prior to the first appointment maximizes productivity and helps to make the most of the initial parent-counselor session.

Subject matter of the parent session:
  • Specific concerns and primary problems with regard to the child’s behavior and family dynamics
  • Goals for counseling
  • Current and past life experiences that may be relevant
  • Counselor-parental communication within the limits of confidentiality
  • Crisis intervention possibilities
  • Length, time, and frequency of counseling sessions
  • Resolutions Inc treatment approach; Family Systems Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Counseling and Faith-based Integration.

How to Talk with Your Child

How to talk with your child or teen about their First Counseling Appointment.

Children and teens are often anxious about their first appointment. Carefully broaching the subject of professional counseling can help set the young person at ease.
  1. Provide your child or teen with some background information about the counselor. Let your teen look at the Resolution Inc. website. Seeing the counselor’s picture and reading a bio can reduce apprehension.
  2. Review with your child or teen the reason(s) they are going to counseling. Reinforce the fact that they are not going to counseling as a form of punishment. A professional counselor does not “fix” people; instead a counselor is trained to help clients find solutions to the problems they face. Counseling sessions afford a safe space for children and teens to process feelings, ask tough questions and take responsibility for the actions that will produce better success.
  3. Have as much background information about the counselor for your teen as possible (Where is the counselor located? What kind of building is the counselor in? Does the counselor see other minors? How long are sessions? How often are sessions? etc.).
  4. Explain what the first session will be like. First sessions goals are two-fold:
    Gathering pertinent background information and building rapport. Just as it is important for the counselor to get to know the client, it is equally important for the client to get to know the counselor. Encourage your child or teen to come with questions. Chemistry is important in the counselor-client relationship, especially with minors. Therefore, the first session will have a conversational feel to it. A common concern with older children and teens is the issue of confidentiality. Help them understand that professional counselors are bound by a code of ethics that guarantees confidentiality within the boundaries of the law.
  5. Talk with your child or teen about what it is they want to get out of counseling. This is something that the counselor will ask at some point, and it is important for the minor to understand that counseling time is the client’s personal time to work on whatever they want to work on. Setting goals at the onset of counseling ensures a counseling plan that fits the client. If your child or teen does not yet know what they want to get out of counseling, their first few sessions will likely be spent talking about what changes they want to see in their life. Even if your child or teen is initially unsure about personal goals, ask them to begin thinking about this question so they will be able to help guide the counselor.
  6. Inform your child or teen what counseling IS and what counseling IS NOT. Counselors are not magicians. Counselors cannot read minds. Counselors are encouragers who guide clients in solutions to problems that are causing pain and/or struggles. Professional counselors are licensed therapists who can facilitate breakthroughs in issues stemming from unresolved personal and interpersonal conflict. Resolutions Inc. also specializes in resolving spiritual issues from a uniquely Christian viewpoint.
  7. Encourage your child or teen to understand that progress takes time.

    Encourage them to commit to 3 – 5 sessions with the counselor before making any judgement on the effectiveness of counseling. Teens can especially be impulsive and sometimes want to fire counselors immediately. Give the counselor a few sessions to see if the relationship can develop.

Parental Cooperation

5 things to keep in mind after your child’s counseling session.

  1. Check your expectations.  Personal growth is a journey. It has taken time for your child to arrive in their current difficulty. It will take time for corrective measures to bring them into a place of sustainable health and wellness. When your child fails to live up to expectations and becomes discouraged, offer a listening ear, not a condemning finger. Allow whatever has happened in the past to stay there. While your child will be working through systemic problems that are partly rooted in past experiences, parents should resist the urge to revisit arguments and conflict in the past outside of the safety of the counseling office. Let the past remain in the past and approach each day as a new start.
  2. Handle with care.  Emotions can be uncertain when your child leaves a counseling session. Even though each session will strive to end on a positive note, counseling involves drawing out discussion over root issues that are difficult to understand and emotionally charged. The natural inclination for a parent is to get in the car and ask, “So, how did it go?” An innocent question like this can put a child in a bind. The session may be so fresh in their minds that they don’t know how to rightly answer the question. Or the immediate aftermath of the session is marked by negative emotions that are hard to manage. Or maybe they consider a parent’s innocent question to be intrusive and disrespectful of confidentiality. The better way to interact with a child immediately after a counseling session is to express your hope that the session went well and convey your willingness to talk or to let them collect their thoughts in silence on the drive home. You might say something like, “Hi honey. I hope your time in counseling went well today. I’d love to listen to anything you want to share, but I recognize that you might just appreciate time to yourself on the way home in order to collect your thoughts. Can you let me know what you prefer?” Maybe they are ready to talk about something other than the session. Maybe they want to talk about the session. Maybe they would appreciate some background music and no obligation to converse. Whatever the case may be, you are conveying respect and welcoming a conversation.
  3. Small pieces may cause choking.  Please keep in mind that counseling sessions are limited to 50 minutes. Resolution seldom comes in one session. Therefore, we will be addressing problems in small, manageable increments. Professional counseling specializes in knowing when to say “when” and will then give the minor the tool(s) necessary to process the session. Often the child/teen will be given action points to be implement in the days that follow the appointment. Small pieces to the internal puzzle need to be handled carefully and patiently. Parents who keep this principle in mind are more apt to provide support and encouragement. Your counselor will not leave you unprepared. While respecting confidentiality, you will be updated regularly on your child’s progress and given tips to compliment the work being done in the counseling sessions. Your child will also be inviting you into sessions to discuss new principles that are to be implemented for positive change. With the client’s permission, the counselor will be apprising parents on each and every resolution strategy discussed and collaborated.
  4. Maintenance for new kids with new attitudes.  Parents often ask, “How do I keep my kids on track?” Post session days can be challenging. The resolutions they make will be tested. Pray. Pray for yourself that God would give you wisdom and empathy as a parent. Pray that your child is strengthened in their resolve to see positive change. Review the principles learned in counseling frequently apart from conflict or crisis.
  5. Be open to change.  Individual counseling often exposes family system deficiencies that contribute to undesirable behavior and attitudes. It is important to realize that good people, who love one another and are committed to one another, can sometimes overlook basic family patterns that inhibit the fullest potential of the family unit and the individuals who make up the family unit. Resist the temptation to be defensive if the counselor wishes to discuss the basic dynamics and patterns of the immediate family. These types of discussions are not meant to undermine parental authority or question parenting capability. Tweaking a family system can provide a breakthrough that is positive for everyone. A professional counselor has been extensively trained in family systems and can provide objective feedback that may prove to be helpful.